Peanut butter and Chocolate Cookies (Vegan, GF)

Allergy Big’s favourite sandwich filling is peanut butter with Dutch chocolate breakfast sprinkles.  These cookies are the biscuit equivalent.  If you need a nut free recipe, then follow this link to biscuits made with Free Nut Butter.

Ingredients

  • 90g peanut butter
  • 40g sugar
  • 75g corn flour
  • 75g gram flour
  • 30g margarine
  • 60g chocolate chips (I had to make my own by chopping up Kinnerton chocolate bars)

Method

  1. Grease a baking sheet with margarine or line it with baking parchment.  Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Cream the peanut butter, margarine and sugar together.
  3. Stir in the flours and chocolate chips, and work together to form a soft dough.
  4. Take ping pong ball sized pieces of dough, and squash them flat into cookie shapes.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are browning on the top.
  6. Leave to cool before removing from the baking sheet.

 

Wizard Rye Bread Wands

Allergy Big is heavily into Harry Potter at the moment.  This has given us an excuse to bring back one of his old packed lunch favourites : Rye Bread Sticks.  Here is a link to our original recipe; I hope you can see that our bread stick making technique has improved a bit!  It was fun making twisted bread sticks so they looked like wands.

Morrison’s Free From Mince Pies

Gluten free and very nearly vegan mince pies

Ingredients – Mincemeat (45%) (sugar, apple puree, raisins, sultana, glucose syrup, currants, vegetable oils (palm, sunflower), glucose-fructose syrup, orange peel, spices, rice flour, acidity regulators (acetic acid, citric acid), lemon peel, dill, treacle, orange oil, preservative (sulphur dioxide)), Brown rice flour, Tapioca starch, Sugar, Vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed), Water, Ground almonds, Dextrose, Salt, Thickener (xanthan gum), Cornflour, Colour (plain caramel), Emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids).

May contain egg, other nuts and peanuts.

This was a pretty good find for a supermarket own brand.  If it wasn’t for that pesky “may contain egg” then these would be vegan as well as wheat free, gluten free and milk free.  The pastry was crisp, and the filling was plentiful and full of flavour.  My only complaint was that these were a little dry, although that’s a problem with mince pies in general, so they benefitted from being accompanied with something moist.  I went with Alpro Soya single cream.

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Costa Mince Tart

On the first day of December, Costa sold to me,

A mince pie that was vegan and gluten free!

INGREDIENTS- Mincemeat (53%) (Sugar, Apple Puree, Raisins (Raisins, Sunflower Oil), Sultanas (Sultanas, Sunflower Oil), Glucose Syrup, Currants (Currants, Sunflower Oil), Candied Mixed Peel (Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Orange Peel, Sugar, Lemon Peel, Acidity Regulator: E330; Preservative: Sulphur Dioxide), Vegetable Suet (Palm Oil, Rice Flour, Sunflower Oil), Mixed Spice, Acidity Regulator: E260; Cinnamon, Treacle, Orange Oil), Pastry (46%) (Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour, Vegetable Margarine (Palm Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Water, Emulsifier:E471), Sugar, Brown Sugar, Ground Almonds, Water, Salt, Stabiliser: E415), Sugar Dusting (1%) (Dextrose, Cornflour, Palm Oil).

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Luckily, Costa make better mince tarts than I write song lyrics.  This was a very satisfying product.  The pastry was crisp.  There was a generous layer of fruit-packed mincemeat.  Usually, gluten free products are a bit puny and small, but this was an 80g beast of a mince tart.  A very good start to the holiday season.

Ombre Vegan “Cheesecake”

This is quite a lengthy recipe.  Each stage doesn’t take that much time, but there are quite a few stages.

INGREDIENTS

For the base:

60g pumpkin seeds

60g sunflower seeds

60g pine nuts

2 tsp cocoa powder

120 g soft pitted dates

2 tsp vanilla essence

 

For the cheesecake layers:

300g cashew nuts

100g almonds

130ml almond milk

80g maple syrup

3 tbsp cocoa powder

For the top:

Any decorations you fancy.  I used dark chocolate curls.

 

  1. Check you have space in your freezer for your cake tin (15cm round).
  2. Soak the cashew nuts and almonds in water, preferably overnight. but for at least 2 hours.
  3. Line your cake tin with strong cling film.  As you can see in the pictures, I used a baking parchment cake tin liner and it was a bit of a faff, so I think cling film is the way to go.
  4. Pulse all of the base ingredients together in a food processor then blend continuously until the mixture starts to stick together.
  5. Put the mixture in the cake tin and pack it down until you have a nice, smooth layer.cheesebase
  6. Put the base-filled cake tin in the freezer while you make the filling.
  7. Drain and rinse the cashews and almonds.  Then blend these together by pulsing at high and low speeds.  [At this point, I added in the optional step of discovering that my blender was not up to the job so I had to buy a better one].
  8. Add the remaining ingredients except the cocoa powder, and blend until smooth.
  9. Remove the cake tin from the freezer, and pour about 1/3 of the layer mixture to make an even layer.
  10. Put this in the freezer for 2 hours.
  11. Mix in 1 tbsp of cocoa powder to the remaining 2/3 of layer mixture.  Remove the cake tin from the freezer, and pour about 1/2 of the remaining mixture (1/3 of your original quantity) to make an even layer.cheeselayer
  12. Put this in the freezer for 2 hours.
  13. Mix in 2 tbsp of cocoa powder to the remaining layer mixture.  Remove the cake tin from the freezer, and pour all the remaining mixture to make an even layer.
  14. Add any decoration; I used dark chocolate curls.
  15. Put this in the freezer for a final 2 hours.cheesefinalWhen it was frozen, I cut the cheesecake into portion slices, and returned them to the freezer individually wrapped.  Now, I have a ready supply of gluten free, vegan treats whenever I need them.

 

The Free From Fairy Flours

Firstly thanks to fellow Allergy Mum, Helen, for sharing this company with me.  The Free From Fairy makes wholegrain, gluten-free, wheat-free, and, crucially for us, rice-free flour blends.  Whoop!  I was eager to try this.  The plain flour blend contains teff, sorghum and buckwheat flours, and tapioca and potato starch.  We already knew that the boys can tolerate teff, buckwheat, tapioca and potato so sorghum was the only dicey ingredient.  For this reason, I wanted to start simple with a basic bread recipe using just water (350ml), yeast (2 tsp), olive oil (6tbsp), xanthan gum (1 1/2 tsp), salt (1tsp), and, of course, Free From Fairy plain flour (450g).  Inspired by the recipe on the side of the packet, which we sadly couldn’t follow exactly as it contained Allergy Brother allergens, I made a tear and share bread.  I hadn’t thought to do this before and the boys enjoyed the novelty of sharing food with us.

The first test is always “did anyone react to the food?” and I am very pleased to report that no one did.  The second test was flavour and texture.  The bread was soft inside with a good crust.  The teff flour gave the flour blend a pleasant, sour dough flavour.  This wasn’t as overpowering as just using teff flour on its own, which is a bit of an acquired taste.  As a final test, I left one piece of bread for the next day to try at breakfast to see how it saves.  It was edible, but definitely not as enjoyable as the evening before so I don’t think I could use it to make sandwiches for the boys to take to school.  Nonetheless, this was a good product that I was pleased to be introduced to.  I have some plans to test the flours in sweet baking as well soon so I shall report back further!

 

New, improved “I still want to do it myself” Chocolate Cake

I am not quite sure how this happened, but the Allergy Brothers initiated Cake Friday.  This means I bake them a cake every Friday!  This has meant that I have had the opportunity to tweak my chocolate cake recipe (the original is here; you can also see that the Allergy Brothers’ cake decorating skills are improving!).  It is still a very forgiving recipe that is easy to make.

200g gram flour

40g chestnut flour

3 tsp baking powder

200g sugar

25g cocoa powder

9 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

340ml water

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Add oil and vanilla essence to the dry mixture.
  5. Gradually add water and mix well until a smooth and runny consistency.
  6. Pour cake batter into the lined tin.
  7. Bake on middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Check the cake with a skewer, if it comes out wet then bake for a further 10 minutes.

Chestnut Shortbread

werbackWe’re back.  After a long sabbatical involving illness, kitchen renovations, and other dreary things, we are back with lots of original recipes to share with you.

And I thought I would start off by treating you to a shortbread recipe.

INGREDIENTS

100g chestnut flour

100g cornflour

100g gram flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

75ml maple syrup

125ml sunflower oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3.  Line a tin with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  3. Pour in the oil and maple syrup.  Mix thoroughly to create a soft, crumbly dough.
  4. Tip the dough into the lined tin and press it into an even layer, smoothing down the top with the back of a spoon.  Prick the shortbread all over with a fork.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until the shortbread is a rich brown colour.  Take it out of the oven and immediately cut into 8-12 pieces.  Then leave it to cool in the tin.

I served this slightly warm with fresh raspberries and whisky cream (for the dairy and alcohol eaters).

 

 

NuGo Dark Peanut Butter Cup

Ingredients – Dark chocolate (Unsweetened chocolate, Cane sugar, Cocoa butter), Non-GMO soy crisp (Non-GMO soy protein isolate, Tapioca starch, Salt), Tapioca syrup, Agave syrup, Non-GMO Brown crisp rice, Ground peanuts, Peanut flour, Rice bran, Gum acacia, Peanut oil, Natural flavour, Soy lecithin, Salt.

Contains Peanut and Soy.  Manufactured on equipment that also processes products containing tree nuts, milk, and egg.  Product is produced under Kosher supervision and is certified Pareve.

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I was pulling a late night working on my lap top and decided I needed something to give me an energy boost.  This definitely hit the spot. There was a generous layer of dark chocolate, and it was pretty sugary.  The NuGo bar was crispy and light too.  This bar fulfilled all my requirements and fuelled me for another hour with my nose to the spreadsheet grindstone.

 

Amy’s Kitchen Manhattan Veggie Burger

Ingredients – Organic quinoa, Organic mushrooms, Organic onions, Organic celery, Organic carrots, Gluten free oats, Organic walnuts, Organic tapioca starch, Organic chickpea flour, Organic tomato puree, Sea salt, Sunflower oil, Organic garlic, Organic sugar, Filtered water, Organic potatoes, Cider vinegar, Organic molasses, Organic green sweet peppers, Hickory smoke flavour, Distilled white vinegar, Ground mustard seeds, black pepper, spices.

 

I quite like Amy’s Kitchen products (I reviewed their Breakfast Bun, and Burrito favourabl20160516_094206y) so I had high hopes for this product.  The packaging suggested four cooking methods: hob, barbecuing, oven or microwave oven.  The first time around I tried the oven method as it meant I could cook some oven chips simultaneously. I was rewarded with some salty, dried out, cork coasters.  Not good.  The second time, I fried them on the hob.  This was much more successful.  The moisture and flavour was sealed in.  The texture was better.  I could also actually taste the mushrooms and quinoa.  So, depending on the cooking methods available to you, this is either awful or quite nice!